After the netbook invasion of 2008 and 2009, could 2010 be the year of the smartbook? Freescale announced that reference smart tablet yesterday, and now, we see Lenovo has unveiled two mobile systems with ARM processors inside: the Skylight and IdeaPad U1.
The Skylight almost looks like a conventional 10" netbook, but it packs a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor instead of an Intel Atom. Lenovo has also outfitted the device with 20GB of (apparently removable) flash storage, a 10-hour battery, a "full size" keyboard, and a custom interface with "more than 18 preloaded web gadgets." Those gadgets will span YouTube, popular social networking sites, Amazon MP3 for music downloads, and Roxio CinemaNow for movie downloads. The video below gives a small taste of the UI:
On the connectivity front, the Skylight supports both Wi-Fi and 3G and can seamlessly switch between the two, according to Lenovo. Folks will be able to purchase the Skylight at AT&T retail stores together with a DataConnect plan, which will provide both roaming 3G connectivity and access to AT&T's Wi-Fi hot spots.
Look for the Skylight to pop up in retail stores this April. Lenovo quotes a $499 "full retail price," but perhaps AT&T will subsidize it with monthly plans. (The announcement doesn't say for sure.)
Meanwhile, Laptop Magazine brings word of the IdeaPad U1 Hybrid, a $999 consumer ultraportable with a detachable, ARM-powered display slate. In its default form, the 11.6", 3.7-lb system has a Core 2 Duo processor and runs Windows 7. Detach the display, and you get a little smart tablet running a "customized Skylight interface," also on a Qualcomm Snapdragon. The U1 will become available on June 1, says Laptop Magazine. See the image gallery below for shots of both the Skylight and U1.